Community news and updates
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
The Ridges is a wonderful place to live. We are surrounded by the natural beauty of the high desert: junipers, pinons, yuccas, blooming chollas, the Sandia, Sangre, and Jemez Mountain ranges, hiking trails, lovely pueblo revival homes and a respectful community of residents. What’s more, we are close to Santa Fe with its famed Plaza, museums, and restaurants.
Carol and I are late-comers to The Ridges, which was established in 1992. We purchased our home in February, 2013 and moved here full time in November 2016. We were drawn to The Ridges because of its beautiful homes, and well-maintained roads and properties. We were greeted warmly by our neighbors and by Victor Hesch, then Board president. We felt welcomed and at home.
These past few years I have come to really appreciate and respect the efforts of residents who have served on the board and the various committees to ensure the continuation of the look and feel of our community. All the residents, together, have contributed to make The Ridges a safe and beautiful place to live.
By now you have all received a packet by mail and email describing the condition of the gravel and paved roads with a suggested remedy. For more than a year, the Roads Committee and the Board of Directors has researched this issue on behalf of our community.
You all will have a say. In the coming weeks, we, as an association, will discuss and then vote on the way to restore the integrity of the gravel roads. We believe the Board’s proposal will protect, preserve, and enhance the lifestyle that we all enjoy.
This important action will affect the beauty and livability of our entire community for years to come. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
This map shows the projected cost of re-graveling our dirt roads in The Ridges, if the work is completed this year. For more detail, please review your packet of information all landowners recently received. The documents in your packet outline the Board’s recommendations for a realistic, affordable strategy and budget to cover road maintenance as well as our regular annual expenses into the future.
By Brigitte Philipp, MLA firstname.lastname@example.org
While we’ve had some rain in Santa Fe there is no guarantee that the “monsoons” have started or that they will continue. Regardless, the drought will continue. EAWSD Stage 1 water restrictions are in force and most likely will not be lifted all summer. Therefore, it is wise for all of us to reconsider the plantings in our landscapes and gardens in order to minimize water use as much as possible, while retaining a beautiful, aesthetic landscape. TREES & SHRUBS: First, and foremost on the agenda, is to make efforts to save the most valuable trees and shrubs. All trees and plants should be thoroughly inspected, dead or dying limbs properly pruned, any diseased trees assessed and, if possible, treated by a certified arborist. In order that rainwater does not simply run off, it should be directed toward trees, shrubs, and plants via berms, swales, and depressions or basins surrounding the plants. NOTE: No trees or shrubs may be planted during the current water restrictions! WEEDING & DEADHEADING: It is best to cut weeds off at ground level and then mulch heavily in order to prevent soil erosion and weed regrowth. Practice no-till gardening, in order to not disturb our fragile soils; mulch with compost as necessary whenever and wherever possible. Deadhead, cut spent blossoms of flowering plants to stimulate more blooms. COMPOSTING: Traditional hot or cold composting is difficult in the dry conditions of Santa Fe. Try burying kitchen waste in the garden, next to plants, or in trenches. That will help to retain moisture and feed the plants. Another excellent, much faster option for kitchen waste is using the ancient homolactic, anaerobic fermentation composting method known today by the Japanese name “Bokashi” (pickling). One of the biggest advantages of Bokashi composting is that you can put anything organic, including citrus, meats, bones, dairy, and cooked leftovers, into the system. The only things to be avoided are items that are already beginning to spoil or are moldy as these will interfere with the lactobacillus fermentation, also items that are too large such as whole fruits or veggies; those should be cut up into smaller pieces. The great advantage of Bokashi fermentation composting is the speed—about 4 to 6 weeks, compared to ordinary composting, which in our dry climate can take many months. The liquid produced as a byproduct of Bokashi can be used as a compost tea if diluted 1 to 100. A little goes a long way! With good compost, you will never have to purchase commercial fertilizer or other soil amendments. After all, composting is the way Mother Nature herself builds soil— only Bokashi is faster.
Beginner’s Guide to Bokashi Composting // What to Expect Start to Finish
REASSESSING and REDESIGNING our LANDSCAPES: Ultimately, it would be wise to do some harsh assessments of our gardens by removing the struggling, less drought-tolerant, thirsty plants and replacing these with xeric vegetation such as grasses, and succulents including— Hardy sedums, sempervivums, agaves, aloe, aeonium, euphorbia, hawthornia, echeveria, yuccas, optunia/cacti and more. These plants look spectacular when placed into rock gardens and come in a multitude of varieties, colors and blooms—something for everyone and every garden. Succulents are easy care and, very drought tolerant. The main requirement for succulents is excellent drainage and full sun. On average, succulents should be watered once the soil has completely dried out. In many gardens that amounts to every 14 to 21 to even 30 days for optunia/cacti. Succulents like well-draining soils without too much organic matter. Regular feeding with a 15-15-15 fertilizer is best. Be careful mulching succulents and sedums because they are prone to stem rot. Keep light mulches a few inches away from the plant. Beautiful, colorful gravels make terrific mulches for sedums. For those who might want to do some replanting, here is a comprehensive resource of 180 succulent varieties, with photos, from which to choose:
CONTAINERS: Gardening in containers, especially self-watering ones, is a great way to control the use of resources and diseases in the garden. VEGGIE GARDENS: If you wish to try more drought-tolerant fruits and vegetables, here are some ideas: Bush Beans – White Half Runner, Snap Butter Beans – Jackson Wonder Lima Beans – Alabama Black-Eyed Butter, Carolina Sieva, Christmas, and Fordhook 242 Bush Pole Beans – Asparagus, Blue Coco, Garden of Eden, Romano, Louisiana Purple Pod Broccoli – Waltham 29 (when fall planted) Corn – Anasazi Sweet, Hopi Blue Flour, Hopi Pink, Painted Mountain Flour, Pinky Popcorn
Cucumber – Armenian, Lemon Eggplant – Listada de Gandia Melons – Iroquois, Navajo Yellow Mustard – Southern Giant Curled Okra – Gold Coast, Hill Country Heirloom Red, Jing Orange Pepper – Jupiter Red Bell, just about any chili pepper, Ordoño Quinoa – all varieties Squash – Cocozelle Zucchini, Costata Romanesco, Cushaw Green-Striped Dark Star, Iran Jumbo Pink Banana, Lebanese Light Green, Tatsume Sunflower – Skyscraper, Maximilian (can be invasive!) Tomato – Caro Rich, Pearson, Red Currant, Phoenix, Solar Fire, Pineapple Stone, Yellow Pear Cherry, Juliet Hybrid Watermelon – Black Diamond Not caring for our landscapes and gardens is really not an option. Neglect and improper use of land are some of the major failings that got humanity into the mess we are in today. As our species practices land stewardship so will Nature repay us with untold, incalculable rewards. Without soil and water, there can be no life on our blue marble. It is imperative that each and every one of us do our part!
By Sue Egan
On Monday, July 21st starting at 10:00 am – 11:00 am we are offering a fire prevention Zoom meeting presented by:
Wendy Mason, Wildfire Prevention & Communications Coordinator
Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department – Forestry
She will be talking about safety practices we can implement to protect our homes and properties. She will then answer any questions.
In the June issue of Eldorado Living, there is a good article regarding how to protect your home from wildfires. In the article there is a pdf you can download called: Ready, Set, Go! that is offered by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. You can copy this link in your browser and either print or save it:
Copies are also available at the Eldorado Fire and Rescue Services, 144 Avenida Vista Grande.
Topic: Robert Curry’s Zoom Meeting FIRE PREVENTION
Time: Jul 21, 2021 02:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 853 2998 7309
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Photo thanks to Larry Ross.
JULY 13 – BOARD PROPOSAL ON BUDGET AND ROADS MAILED AND EMAILED
JULY 21 – WILDFIRE ZOOM MEETING, 2 pm
AUG 8 – GENERAL RLA ZOOM ROADS MEETING, EARLY IN MONTH, 2 pm
SEPT 4 – HIGH DESERT RIDGES GARDEN TOUR, 10 am – 2 pm
SEPT 18 OR 25 – GEOLOGY TOUR OF THE RIDGES, 10 am
OCT 24 – ANNUAL RLA MEETING , 1 pm – Location TBA
WHO is that man under the sun hat, armed with nothing more than gloves, a stick and a big bucket? Why, that’s our Ridges GOOD NEIGHBOR of the quarter, Randy Kubes. Randy has taken it upon himself to clean up along our Ridges roadways. He’s picking up trash that’s been carelessly discarded by someone (surely not our Ridges’ neighbors?). Randy says most of what he finds is old cans, bottles and discarded utility flags. So a big thank you and our GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARD goes to RANDY KUBES!
Randy Kubes, photographed by Kathy Kubes.
How many times have you looked up at our beautiful surroundings and thought, “I wonder what those mountains are called? And how they came to be?” Or looked down, maybe while attempting to garden, and wondered, “What on earth is this rock I keep running into?” We have a neighbor who can answer those questions and more. He is the authority on flood and earthquake risk, the impact of climate change, drought and monsoons, and more. Much more. Ridges resident Dennis McQuillan is the recently retired Chief Science Coordinator for the New Mexico Environment Department. He has prepared – especially for us – an illustrated, expansive report on the natural conditions of The Ridges. Don’t miss it!
Also, Dennis has offered to lead a field trip and a question/answer session in September for Ridges residents who would like to learn more. Please let me know if you would be interested and if you would prefer September 18 or 25th. Write to email@example.com. This is not a reservation; that will come later. This will simply help us get a preliminary head count and gauge everyone’s interest.
Our first ever garden tour is coming up. We’re calling it THE RIDGES HIGH DESERT GARDEN TOUR – THE CHALLENGE.
Yes, we all know, water restrictions, brown and dried out land, etc., etc. However, we’re planning our tour from 10-2 on September 4th; hopefully it will be cooler by then.
And, yes indeed, that is Labor Day Weekend, but we hope the tour will be a fun activity to share with any holiday guests. If you’d like to get an idea of what people plant and create in The Ridges to complement their homes, especially in the face of adverse conditions, this will be a great way to get inspired. We promise you’ll be amazed at what your talented neighbors are doing down their long driveways and behind their adobe walls. We hope you’ll come out, say hello, maybe sip a lemonade, and have a fun and inspirational time.
Also, if you would like to participate as a host or to showcase your secret garden please contact Kathy Kubes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. Races to the hounds.
B. Professional harmonica player.
C. Born in Santa Fe.
D. International researcher on birth defects.
E. Maker of art pottery.
Tabbouleh or not Tabbouleh? That is the question!
By Carol Curry
Clockwise from top left: Hummus, Eggplant Dip, Tabbouleh. Photo: Brigitte Philipp
Gina Hayes, resident of The Ridges, has answered the tabbouleh question with her recipe for this refreshing summer salad that is a staple of middle eastern cuisine.
The traditional grain used is bulgur wheat, which is a low-carb, high-fiber whole grain rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, B-vitamins and protein. Quinoa can be substituted, adding more protein, but decreasing the fiber.
Add lots of leafy green herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers to serve as an entrée salad or an accompaniment to your favorite middle eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
1/2 c. bulgur, prepared per package directions
1 c. diced tomatoes
1 c. diced cucumber
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. sliced green onion
2-3 bunches of parsley, large stems removed and finely chopped
1/3 c. mint, large stems removed and finely chopped
1 minced garlic clove
1/3 c. olive oil
4T. lemon juice
Salt to taste
Set aside prepared bulgur to cool. Combine tomato, cucumber and salt in a separate bowl while bulgur is cooling. Strain and discard the juices that accumulate. Combine all ingredients. Whisk dressing and add. Chill and serve. NOTE: salad is best served the day it is prepared as the lemon juice in the dressing will wilt and darken the herbs. OPTIONS: replace bulgur with quinoa, add cilantro in lieu of some of the parsley and mint, substitute lime for the lemon, add pine nuts for texture and flavor.
Dear Neighbors –
Thank you for your comments on our first quarterly newsletter and especially for your participation. The Views will only be as good as we – together – make it!
Many people have told me they saved Brigitte Philipp’s gardening article because of all the great information she included, so I’m pleased to tell you Brigitte has agreed to write for us again. And this time she’ll be joined by Patricia Corres, writing about troublesome weeds. Speaking of beautifying our environs – Ridges beautification chair, Kathy Kubes is organizing our first-ever Ridges Garden Tour. She has details for us in this newsletter.
We told you last time that geologist and Ridges resident, Dennis McQuillan was preparing a survey of natural conditions in The Ridges. We’re including a link to his extensive report. It makes for a fascinating and educational read. Have you ever considered the risk of flood or earthquake in The Ridges? Dennis tells us what we need to know.
Take note of the Zoom meeting on fire safety, coming up on July 21st. Essential information for all of us.
We’re pleased to highlight a new feature this quarter, Foodies Among Us. Carol Curry is shepherding this project and she begins this month with a recipe for a refreshing summer salad from Gina Hayes.
And, of course, we can’t forget our roads. President Roc Curry has the latest. Roc and the RLA have devoted many hours and much brain power to developing a solid plan to maintain our varied roads at the best price possible. Roc lays it all out for us this month in our newsletter plus a packet of documents to be sent to all residents.
And do test your neighborly IQ by checking the Who’s Who quiz.
Till next time,
By Patricia Corres
Two years ago when we moved to New Mexico, I met many new people and also many new-to-me weeds. In fact, I found so many new weeds that I took photos of them to learn their names and how to identify them. This process of ‘getting acquainted’ was helped by programs like Inaturalist or Picture This or by useful websites such as these: USDA National Invasive Species Information Center: https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov USD Forest Service Invasive Species: https://ww.fs.usda.gov Colorado Weed Management Association: https://cwma.org NM State University in Las Cruces (Noxious and Troublesome Weeds of New Mexico (updated in 2020): https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs
Here in our area of New Mexico, there are nuisance weeds that are often non-native plants which have evolved successful ways of reproducing and discouraging the growth of other plants around them. Here are a few that you may have encountered and a little about their habit.
Puncturevine (Goathead) (Tribulus terrestris) is a summer annual broadleaf plant that grows flat along the ground and whose fruit is a woody burr with sharp rigid spines. It has small yellow flowers and is native to southern Europe. A typical plant can produce 200-5,000 seeds during one growing season and can grow in mats.
Silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) is a common native plant with prickly leaves and a beautiful purple flower with yellow center. It has yellow berries. Every part of the plant is poisonous, so it is best to pull it out early or treat it with a weed killer.
Kochia (Bassia scoparia) is a large annual broadleaf weed native to Eurasia. If uncontrolled, it can become a tumbleweed and disperse seeds over a large area. Nitrate, oxalate, sulfates, saponins and alkaloids found in kochia can cause poisoning in cattle and sheep, particularly when drought stressed. Kochia starts out as a gray-green fuzzy-leafed plant and can grow in mats. Its flowers are inconspicuous.
Russian thistle (Salsola tragus ) is a prickly non-native summer annual weed with many- branched stems that usually have red or purple striping. It also has inconspicuous seeds and can become a tumbleweed when it dries, scattering the seeds as it is blown around. This thistle can accumulate toxic levels of nitrates and oxalates that can harm animals.
Filaree (common stork’s-bill) (Erodium cicutarium) is a European native that out- competes native grasses. It grows flat and has fern-like, delicate leaves with small 5- petaled pink to purple flowers. The seeds have a long tails that coil into a spiral when dry and are launched from a beak-like projection. Each plant can produce between 2,000 and 10,000 seeds.
Field bindweed (Convovulus arvensis) is a Eurasian native in the morning glory family with spade-like leaves. It is an herbaceous perennial. It is drought tolerant and very difficult to eradicate. The seed can be dormant in the soil for 60 yrs!
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is also known as foxtail grass. It is a non-native annual grass which has become very invasive and is on every hit list. It grows quickly in the spring and dies in early summer, making it a big fire hazard. It also sports finely barbed seeds that by mid-June attach themselves to clothing and puncture skin, clothing, and pets’ ears and skin. I would refer you to the article written by David Salman that details several ways to get rid of this weed. (Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/7/20 and 4/12/21)
By Roc Curry
Eldorado Community Church has contacted the Ridges Landowners’ Association (RLA) about plans to move from its space in La Tienda to Lot 17 in Cimmaron and build a sanctuary. The commercially zoned Lot 17 is on the corner of Alma, Highway 285 and Chamisa. The Cimmaron commercial zoning covenant limits commercial space to 5,000 square feet does not include allowing a church, only commercial businesses. The RLA and businesses in 17A, B and C would have to agree to change the Cimmaron Covenants to include a church and expand the space to 10,000 sq ft. . Also the 1992 agreement with the Lot 17 owners and the Cimmaron Corporation grants the Ridges ownership and responsibility for the fifty foot wide easement that runs from highway 285 along Alma and throughout the Ridges. This raises potential liability issues, as well as cost of maintenance of Alma. The Board will seek legal counsel as we enter discussion with the Eldorado Community Church.
Why do people settle in Santa Fe?
For John Gaw Meem, the now famous New Mexico architect, the journey started in Brazil. He was born in 1894 to American Episcopalian missionary parents. As a young man, he returned to the U.S. and lived in New York. While working there, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and prescribed the dry high desert climate of Santa Fe.
Once here in 1924, Meem was completely captivated by the traditional adobe structures that expressed the Native Pueblo and Spanish colonial architecture. For the next 60 years, he dedicated his life to building and renovating hundreds of buildings in Northern New Mexico in these styles – churches, homes, university and government facilities.
Countering International Modernism in favor of Regionalism, he created a fresh new interpretation of Native Pueblo and Spanish Colonial architectural traditions. La Fonda Hotel, the Santa Fe Indian School and Santa Fe Plaza are just a few of his famous projects.
In 1957 Santa Fe adopted the Historical Zoning Ordinance for the “old quarter” that required adherence to the Pueblo Revival ,the Spanish Colonial and Territorial styles Meem had championed his whole career. John Gaw Meem’s aesthetic vision gives Santa Fe its character and appeal as the City Different.
In 1990 Ron Sebesta Realty purchased 323 acres, divided them into 85 lots, and filed the Declaration of Restrictive Covenants (DRC) to establish The Ridges. These Covenants describe the styles of architecture acceptable in The Ridges as “Santa Fe” style, “Territorial Style”, “Mexican” and “Traditional Pueblo” styles and “Traditional Spanish Moorish” style (DRC 9.02). John Gaw Meem’s vision inspires not only the architecture of Santa Fe but also of The Ridges.
When a third of the lots were sold the developer ceded the oversight of approving construction and adherence to the DRC to an Architectural Control Committee (ACC) appointed by the newly-formed Ridges Landowners Association.(RLA).
Today, residents Debra Hagey, an experienced real estate agent and chair of the ACC, Gerry Fornell, a career building design consultant, and Carol Albrecht, a retired NM licensed general contractor, home builder & interior designer serve on the Architectural Control Committee. They offer their time and professional experience as a valuable service to their neighbors.
Guided by the Architectural Policies in the DRC and ACC Guidelines (see website) and as well as by the state, county, and insurance providers’ regulations, they, among other duties, review and approve blueprints for new construction including the kinds of materials and stucco colors used. They oversee any later additions, structures and outdoor improvements. Realtors attest to the fact that strongly enforced HOA covenants increase the appeal and property values in a development such as The Ridges.
Each of us has reviewed and agreed to these very same Restrictive Covenants (also posted on the website) as a condition to closing the purchase our property and have pledged to abide by them out of respect for our neighbors.
I sincerely believe the beauty and appeal of Native Pueblo and Spanish Southwestern architecture, as well as faithful adherence to our Covenants, is one of the major attractions for settling here in The Ridges.
President of the RLA Board
Pine bark beetles are small insects, generally black, hard-shelled and approximately 5 millimeters in length – about the size of of piece of cooked rice. Bark beetles tunnel under the bark, cutting off the tree’s supply of food and water needed to survive. Bark beetles can kill a tree in as little as two to four weeks during warmer months.
Several years of winter drought and warmer temperatures have resulted in our lovely piñons being moisture-stressed and vulnerable to attack by these dreaded beetles. These beetles have a high reproductive capacity and under optimal conditions can produce up to four generations per year! Even healthy trees can be invaded very quickly when “mass attacked” by large numbers of bark beetles. There was a terrible infestation here in the Ridges back in the early 2000s. It was reported that one landowner lost 100 trees on their property that year.
Hopefully we will have a wet, wet summer but nature does have her own agenda. How to detect pine bark beetle you ask? Look at the bark and notice if there are reddish-brown pitch tubes – these 1/2-3/4 inch blobs of sap on the outside of the bark are a sign that the beetles have successfully overtaken the tree. Also, look on the tops of branches for tiny piles of sawdust. These are after all, boring insects. Needles on dying piñon begin to turn a reddish-brown and usually start changing color at the top of the tree and then the color moves down.
Once bark beetles have fully infested a tree, little can be done to save it. Because they reside in the protected part beneath the bark, it is difficult to control them. Bark beetle infested limbs should always be pruned and disposed of and the entire tree may need to be removed if the damage is too extensive. Should you decide to keep the wood for firewood it’s necessary to cover it with plastic for several weeks to kill the beetles. It’s very important to have the dead tree removed because once the beetles kill a tree they move quickly to the surrounding trees. Dead trees need to be removed because they are a fire hazard as well. The sooner a dead tree is removed the better. There are no effective systemic pesticide treatments that will kill pine bark beetle larvae once they’re inside the tree. Pesticide treatments are limited to only protecting trees from becoming infested not killing them once they’re inside the tree. There are many systemic treatments on the market that prevent beetle infestation. However, doing this yourself is very time and work intensive.
There are numerous companies that spray for these pests. Late fall and early spring are the best times to prune and spray. It’s important, however, to make sure that they are licensed to use the proper treatment because spraying for bark beetle requires a particular license. It’s also important to schedule your spray in the morning since the wind tends to get stronger as the day goes on. Remove all pet bowls, bird feeders, water bowls, and close all windows during and after the spray for one hour.
If you have questions or would like more information about this you may e-mail Kathy and/or Randy at email@example.com.
Thank you, Roc and Carol Curry!
Our roads are a major concern for all residents of The Ridges; caring for them takes the vast majority of our HOA fees. Deciding how to proceed with maintaining them affects the safety, property value and beauty of all our homes. Here are the facts to consider as we move ahead.
On Tuesday, May 4th from 10 am till 4 pm, Dr John Formby, PhD from the New Mexico Forestry Division will in the Ridges. He is a Forest Health Specialist/Entomologist. From 10 till 11 he will be our guest on a Zoom call to talk about the infestation of the Bark Beetle and to answer your questions. He will be available until 4pm to inspect the properties of residents’ who request a visit as a free service from the NM Forestry Division. The Zoom meeting information is included here and will also e-mailed to all residents. If you want to schedule a visit with Dr Formby contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Open the attached PDF Document published by the Forest service entitled BARK BEETLE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
Robert Curry is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting with Dr John Formby .
Join Zoom Meeting on May 4th at 10AM
Meeting ID: 891 6149 3254
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As we know, all our Ridges neighbors are special, but do you know what makes each person a stand-out? Try to match the names with the occupation, honor or curiosity listed below. How many do you know?
Hello neighbors –
Thank you for your many good comments regarding our preview issue of The Views. We invited submissions from our talented residents and Brigitte Phillips came through with a timely article and stunning photos about beautifying your own little corner of the world. This talented gardener and photographer offers some tips for those of us aspiring to garden at our arid 7000 feet. Kathy Kubes authored the piece on preserving our treasured piñons. She outlines some simple but essential steps to keep our lovely piñons safe. This month we also feature, in Meet Your Neighbors, a conversation with Matt and Tamara Smith and their daughter Amaya. They built a new house in The Ridges two years ago. We also meet new neighbor Dennis McQuillan who has an exciting project underway to benefit all of us in The Ridges.
And do take a look at Who’s Who? See if you can match the Ridges’ residents with their special achievements. (And send me, email@example.com, attn:Views, your suggestions for next time). And of course, Ridges President Roc Curry brings us more up-to-date info on our ever-developing roads situation, and Sue Egan covers the HOA board meeting. Thanks as always to West Cooper and Patricia Corres for their invaluable services.
We always welcome your questions, and suggestions.
Everyone loves their car when they drive it off the dealer’s lot — but want to know who STILL loves their car – after it’s been totaled – and the owner has walked away without serious injury? Then you want to chat with Matthew Smith. Matt is the claims representative with Geico Insurance for northern New Mexico and he’s seen it all, from fender benders on up. He’s the guy who goes out to look over the cars, boats, and motorcycles that have been wrecked or otherwise damaged. Not only does he have to stay up to date on today’s latest electronic – and very expensive – automobile features in order to give accurate claims estimates, he also has to sometimes play detective if he suspects fraudulent claims. Matthew and his wife Tamara and their 13-year-old daughter, Amaya, moved into their home on Principe de Paz about two years ago. It took about a year to build and was a total family venture. Tamara’s brother was the builder and every one in the family took part in making their vision a reality. “There’s a lot of Smith labor in this house,” says Matt.
Tamara speaks with quiet pride of all the oversized interior doors that she stained, although she quickly acknowledges that Matt stained the grand entry door. Even Amaya got in on the action — selecting the tile and designing the fun tile “rug” in her bathroom and the brightly painted wall in her bedroom.
Tamara says, “That’s the only real pop of color in the house.” Tamara chose sophisticated neutrals for the other finishes. Teenaged Amaya says she loved getting a close up view as their own family home grew from drawings on paper to a real house over the months of construction, even though she knows it meant a lot of work, stress, and endless decision-making for her parents. With their home complete, Matt, who grew up in south Texas, says he can’t believe he’s now buying rocks for landscaping along with the dozens of trees he’s planted.
The Smiths, like all of us, have had life disrupted by Covid over the past year. Matt was quarantined for a couple of months but is now back out in the field – and glad of it. He says he still takes precautions to keep his family safe. Tamara is a business analyst in the IT department of the NM Department of Taxation and Revenue. She thinks working from home has been easiest on her. In fact, she’s in no hurry to go back to office life. Amaya, a seventh grader at the El Dorado Community School, has adapted to online learning, although of course she misses being in school with her friends. Fortunately, she plays many sports and takes part in theater, so she’s still had some social life, “With my mask on!” she adds. And not one to waste time, Amaya taught herself to walk on her hands while we were all in lock-down!
The Smiths, including Amaya, each answered with one word when asked what they like best about their life in The Ridges, “Quiet.”
When you meet our new Ridges neighbor Dennis McQuillan you MAY meet the recently retired Chief Science Coordinator for the New Mexico Environment Department OR you might meet the fiddle player for the popular folk dance group, the Santa Fe Mega Band. His band has performed for the past five years at Santa Fe Fiesta, before Covid closed it down. They hope to soon resume their gigs twice a month at the Odd Fellows hall on Cerillos Road. While they specialize in Celtic folk music they also like to play northern New Mexican and Spanish fiddle music, and even Israeli, Scandinavian and American Blue Grass folk music.“As long as you can dance to it,” says Dennis. To be honest, you may meet Dennis under any one of several other personas: mountain biker, hiker, dad or gardener. He is a man of many interests and talents.
He purchased the former home of Karen and John Erickson in December of 2020. Dennis says he had learned his lesson after missing out on a couple of other quick-selling homes. Dennis toured the South Hijo de Dios home as soon as it came on the market and tendered his successful offer within 24 hours. No regrets.
Dennis had his wish list firmly in hand – more space than the home he was renting in Rancho Viejo, acreage of piñon and junipers, views and fireplaces. Check, check, check and check. His Ridges home fit him perfectly.
Dennis has not left his 43 year career in geology and environmental science completely behind; he’s currently launching a training and consulting business. He plans to offer continuing education credits for professionals as well as advise businesses and agencies with environmental issues.
And in his ‘spare’ time Dennis has examined his new neighborhood. He’s in the final stages of preparing a report on water sources, usage and quality in The Ridges. Watch this space! We’re planning to have a summary of the McQuillan report to share with you in our next newsletter. And even sooner Dennis is planning to conduct one or two walking tours in the area, explaining our fascinating topography and geology. We will try to publicize those opportunities with email blasts so all Ridges neighbors can learn more, and participate.
Dennis grew up on the east coast, came to the University of New Mexico at age 18, and never left. “I had frequently visited my uncle who worked at the labs at Los Alamos and I just really liked the area.”
Lucky Dennis and lucky us too – to have this accomplished new neighbor, ready to generously share his knowledge with us.
Life, as we have known it has changed immeasurably during the past year of pandemic, and yet—Nature, continues unabated while gardening remains America’s favorite pass-time, especially now, as close to 80% of Americans garden. It is early spring and the time to consider how your garden will grow is now. The choices are many including a completely “natural” garden with native shrubs and wildflowers; an ornamental, dryland, xeric/drought tolerant garden; or gardening primarily in containers and even straw bales.
We are most fortunate to live in The Ridges, where our near views are quite green as a result of the wonderful junipers (Juniperus monosperma) and piñon pines (Pinus edulis) as well as many other shrubs and wildflowers.
The Ridges is located in USDA hardiness zone 6b at 7,000 feet and thus, we have a short growing season. It is wise to remember that the last frost date in Santa Fe is 20 May. While it may be a bit early to obtain plants from garden centers, many plants can be seeded indoors in March, April and beyond.
The average annual rainfall is less than 15” in Santa Fe. According to the United States Drought Monitor the Santa Fe, NM region currently is suffering from “extreme/ exceptional drought.” https:/droughtmonitor.unl.edu/. Therefore, it is important to choose plant materials wisely and apply no-till, dryland/xeric gardening techniques. The key is always to choose the right plant for the right place, planted at the right time.
Water is the source of all life on earth. The best and most economical form of watering is via drip irrigation which can reduce water use by up to 90%. Rainwater collection/harvesting is optimal. Greywater use (water recycling) is also an excellent way to water gardens. Unfortunately, the U. S. only recycles 1% of its water, while conversely, arid Israel recycles 86%. Regardless, there are countless trees, plants, and herbs that flourish in no-till dryland or xeric gardens. After all, desert-dwelling, native peoples worldwide have sustained themselves via drylands gardening for thousands of years. In general, once established, plants should be watered once a week while established shrubs and trees can be watered once or twice a month. Forming water basins at the base of plants and trees keeps water from running off.
While the best time to prune most trees and shrubs is late fall or winter, what can and should be done early in the season is pruning of shrubs and some (late flowering) trees as well as preparing beds and planters with compost, soil amendments and mulch. The best time to prune our precious, low-maintenance, drought-tolerant piñon pines is in winter or early spring before new growth begins. Partially cutting back the
candles on piñon pines will promote bushy growth. Be very careful about removing the growth point at the tip of a piñon because doing so will cause the branch to die. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, black bears, mule deer rely on piñon nuts for food. First, rub sterilize your pruning shears and saws with bleach or rubbing alcohol. Shrubs, such as chamisas or roses can be pruned more severely than can trees. As in tailoring or carpentry—“measure twice, cut once.” Take a look at your shrub or tree and carefully assess its structure and how you wish it to look after pruning when it fills in. Start with removing any dead or crossing branches. Be aware that on trees, once a major branch is removed it will not regrow. Never remove more than 10% of any tree at one time in spring.
Water loss via evaporation, transpiration, run-off and deep percolation is an issue worldwide, not just in drylands. Mulching with organic matter: Compost, straw, leaf litter, pulled weeds, shredded (not colored) paper, etc. is critical and also improves soil fertility. Living mulches, such as squash vines, are also most beneficial.
DROUGHT TOLERANT EDIBLE PLANTS
Many ornamental, culinary, and medicinal herbs work well in xeric gardens including oregano, rosemary, sage, lavender, thyme, tarragon, lemon verbena, garlic chives, onion chives, lovage, borage, calendula, dandelion, savory, artemisia, bay, baptisia, catmint, fennel, germander, white horehound, sweet marjoram, Mexican oregano, santolina, yarrow, echinacea, costmary. Most all have beautiful blooms and are lovely in the ground among ornamental plants, the veggie garden or in containers. Once established, most herbs will need very little water.
Drought and semi-drought resistant fruits & vegetables: (This list is by no means exhaustive!)
Apricot, fig, grape, mulberry, plum, walnut.
Arugula, asparagus, cabbage, chard, corn (sweet & seed), beans (all types pole & dry beans), beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, chiles, cucumber, eggplant, endive, garlic, jicama, okra, onions, numerous melons, leeks, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash (summer & winter), sweet potato, tomatillo, turnips.
Tomatoes, the most popular of vegetables/fruits, can be grown in heat and with minimal irrigation once established: Most cherries like Sweet 100, yellow pear, etc.; the Greek heritage “Santorini” cherry is considered fully drought tolerant in humid climates. Try early & heat resistant varieties like Early Girl, Marvel Striped, Romas) Cherokee Purple, Beef Steak, Black Krim.
Heat or Hot Set Tomatoes: BHN 216, Florasette, Florida 91, Heatwave II, Solar
Fire, Summer Set, Sunchaser, Sun Leaper, Sunmaster, Sun Pride, Talladega.
Heirloom Tomatoes: Arkansas Traveler, Eva Purple Ball, Hazelfield Farm, Homestead 24, Illinois Beauty, Neptune, Ozark Pink, Stupice, Tropic.
Ornamentals, including many roses, that will thrive in New Mexico exist by the thousands. Trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, cacti/succulents, desert accents, turf & ornamental grasses, ground covers and vines are included in this extensive, Interactive Website: “…In an effort to instruct New Mexicans in the art of using outdoor water more efficiently, the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, in collaboration with the US Bureau of Reclamation, is providing an expert-recommended list of low-water-use, native or adaptive plants that thrive in our climate and save water….” http://wuc.ose.state.nm.us/Plants/
Do try your hand at dry-land/xeric gardening for physical and mental health; for the environment; more fun than going to the gym with the added bonus of blooms and produce.
For additional, specific information or if you have questions please check the resources box or contact me.
Brigitte Philipp, MLA
Brigitte Philipp, MLA
The Ridges, Santa Fe
Resident Landscape Architect
Neighborhood source of free, sustainable gardening information. Often has seeds and plants to share.
A Guide to Native Plants for the Santa Fe Landscape (Santa Fe Master Gardeners Assoc)
New Mexico’s Enchanted Xeriscape Guide
Santa Fe Botanical Garden (Museum Hill)
FREE Mulch (not composted)
Compost Available at the Wastewater Treatment Plant
Eldorado Composting (Instructions on how to compost)
High Country Gardens Native, drought tolerant plants & wildflower seeds. https://www.highcountrygardens.com/
Victory Seeds Offering rare, open-pollinated, non-GMO, non-hybrid, heirloom seeds.
Fruition Seeds An excellent seed company. They provide terrific info via a newsletter.
Tomato Fest Everything tomatoes including heirlooms, dwarfs & drought tolerants.
Seed Savers Exchange https://www.seedsavers.org/
Home Grown New Mexico HGNM produces events that educate and promote the awareness of nutritious, home grown food.
Permaculture Design New Mexico Listing Permaculture practitioners in NM and many other resources. https://www.permaculturedesignmagazine.com/new-mexico
The National Gardening Association NGA Features online gardening courses, a terrific newsletter, along with robust guides for gardening with a variety of fruits and vegetables. https://garden.org/
Farmers’ Almanac Time-tested and generations approved, the Farmers’ Almanac is a compendium of knowledge on weather, gardening, cooking, home remedies, managing your household, preserving the earth, and more. https:// www.farmersalmanac.com/
It was love at first sight.
For years Carol and I knew we wanted to retire to Santa Fe. Since 2007, we would escape several times a year from the Texas Gulf Coast to get our City Different fix. In our December 2012 visit we were determined to find our future retirement home. With our realtor, we searched all over Santa Fe for several days with disappointing results.
Carol & Roc Curry
Desperate, we broadened our search and found a new listing just out of town, As we turned off 285 onto Alma Road, we drove through THE RIDGES monuments. Continuing on Principe de Paz we were captivated by the lovely Santa Fe Pueblo Revival homes scattered among the pinon-juniper scrub grass high desert landscape. We loved the deep arroyos and rugged rock outcroppings along paved and gravel roads. But it was the VIEWS that took our breath away– the Jemez mountains draped in a blue haze, the Sandias close enough to touch, the Ortiz and San Pedro ranges, the Sangres capped with snow.- the valleys spread out before us. The vistas were intoxicating. When we stepped into the listed house, we KNEW we had found our home here in the Ridges. Many of you have expressed the similar experiences of the Ridges – love at first sight.
Our neighbors watched over our home several years until we moved here full time in November 2016. Then, we began to meet residents who generously volunteered their time to serve our community: the Roads and the Architectural committees , other board members and the then-president Victor Hesch. Looking through past issues of the community newsletters, I have seen names of residents who over the years dedicated their talent and time to establish the beauty of the Ridges, the safety and integrity of our roads, and the protection of all of us from legal liabilities. To all of you, today’s residents are indebted.
The revival of this newsletter will help foster a sense of community as we get to know our neighbors, become better informed of budget challenges facing us, and together, explore available options. We hope this newsletter will help keep us informed and enable us to work together, going forward to preserve and maintain the value of our homes, the integrity and safety of our roads, and the quality of our lives here in the Ridges.
President of the Board of Directors
The Ridges welcomes new neighbors Dennis and Kris McQuillan at 3 South Hijo de Dios, the former home of the Ericsons.
The Mark Reinwald family purchased Doug and Ann Smith’s home at 134 Pan de Vida, relocating here from New York.
The Derek Johnsons recently completed building their new home at 9 N Hijo de Dios.
Chris and Michael Mele-Wagner broke ground on their new home on Pan de Vida. They hope to move in by early next year.
Early last year Rodney and Libby Crabtree purchased Steve and Marci King’s home at 27 Pan de Vida and are settled in.
Karen Ericson has moved from the Ridges to another Santa Fe home in town.
9 N Hijo de Dios: The Johnson project received a certificate of occupancy in early February. An approved masonry and stucco courtyard wall is in process. The home is lovely. We look forward to welcoming our new neighbors.
175 Principe de Paz: Gabrielle Petrissans’ studio has been completed subject to installation of an adobe wall connecting the studio to the residence.
19 Pan de Vida: The plans for Chris and Michael Mele-Wagner were approved by the ACC in the Fall of 2020. The site excavation began in January with the footings going in most recently. The project is well under way and will be a great addition to the Ridges neighborhood.
A year ago, long-time resident Michel Marx died at age 93. His remarkable life is recorded in the book he wrote in 2012, THE HIDDEN RIVER. He fought in the French resistance, was captured and tortured by the Gestapo and survived a concentration camp. After WWII he emigrated to the U.S. He received many honors and medals for his exploits during the war including rescuing over 50 U.S. and Brit airmen. He was active in the Ridges, serving on various boards. We offer condolences to his wife Olga.
John Ericson passed away this past May at age 92. He and Karen lived in the Ridges since 1996. John and Karen were Hollywood actors in movies and on TV. John and Karen designed and built several homes in the Ridges. They extended their acting careers on the Santa Fe stage. John and Karen continued to receive fan mail from around the world up to the present. Our condolences to Karen.
Fred Strauss passed away this past April 24th at age 72. He and Nancy were both in TV production in New York. Fred was a producer for the NPR show SESAME STREET and ABC’s GMA. They re-located to Santa Fe after early retirement and continued producing commercials for non-profits like Christus St Vincent Hospital. They moved into the Ridges in 2005. Fred served as co-president of the Ridges Board in 2008 -09. Our condolences to Nancy.
Lucilo and Patricia Corres moved to the Ridges in August of 2019 from Houston. Lucilo was born in 1942 in Vitoria, Spain. He was an independent journalist, traveling extensively in Latin American before coming to the U.S.where he earned a B.A with a triple major in Spanish, philosophy and psychology. He continued with PhD studies in the Romance languages at Ohio State. On January 6th Lucilo suffered a severe heart attack and despite prompt EMT response did not survive. Our condolences to Patricia.
Thank you, Larry Ross!
Ruts forming on N Hijo De Dios after snow melt.
ASPHALT ROADS-8,460 feet
GRAVEL ROADS- 10,900 feet
The Roads Committee oversees road maintenance and consists of: Mark Glaze, Charlie Whiteley and Greg Cooper. They constantly monitor road conditions, report to the Board of Directors with recommendations and cost projections. They also contact, schedule and supervise sub-contractors. Thank you to our hard working road committee! NEXT ISSUE ROADS FUND FACTS
We have bad news for some dog owners — the Poop Fairy doesn’t live here in The Ridges. Consider this a cordial reminder to all dog owners to clean up after your pets, on the pavement and off. Leaving a rock or a stack of sticks on top of your dog’s “deposit” does not count. Our roads are popular with exercise walkers in our community and they’ve reported increasingly frequent encounters with dog waste, creating an unsightly and unsanitary environment. PLEASE remember to carry those poop bags and take a minute to use them. It will make a more pleasant outdoor experience for dogs, walkers and all Ridges homeowners.
And speaking of debris – on occasion, beer cans, soda cans, cigarette packs and the like show up along our roads. We can’t blame the dogs for those and surely they’re not left there by any proud Ridges residents? So a big thank you and a Good Neighbor Award goes out to everyone who takes the time to pick up such trash to help keep our views natural and pristine.
The Ridges Board of Directors last met on January 26.
West Cooper was on the Zoom call to show us the updated website that has been launched. If you haven’t logged in yet, please do, and register and update your password. West did an outstanding job and we think you will like the new version; the website is very user-friendly and easy to follow.
The board also discussed the PNM Remediation Issue and sent another letter to PNM addressing the fluid spills, damage to a quarter mile of the asphalt on the edge of the road, and gravel replacement on Rey de Reyes and Agua Viviendo. PNM claimed that they would leave the road in the same or better condition than before.
The other main topic was the condition of the gravel roads and how to best maintain them. The Roads Committee will explore several options; basically adopting a chemical treatment or replacing the gravel altogether. A full report will be given to the Board in March projecting costs and effectiveness of the various approaches. This information will be communicated to all residents, and their feedback will be sought.
The Board approved publishing this on-line quarterly newsletter to all residents.
The full minutes and financial report will be posted on the Ridges website.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for March 8th.
The Ridges Board Secretary
As editor of our revived community newsletter, I am delighted to serve along with our resident tech guru West Cooper. West’s skills are well known to Ridges’ residents. He’s the designer and caretaker of our handsome Ridges website. If you’re not familiar with it, do take a look at theridgesla.org, and sign up.
Most of our newsletter content will be created by you and your talented neighbors: I will serve largely as the keeper of commas and capitalization. This edition is our introductory issue. In the future your newsletter will be published each quarter, to follow closely after the board’s quarterly meeting. You can expect a letter from board president Roc Curry, a summary of recent board business from board secretary Sue Egan, an introduction to one or more of your Ridges neighbors in our Meet Your Neighbor section and other articles on topics of interest, usually penned by your neighbors.
We welcome your ideas and submissions and we also encourage you to send your beautiful area photos that we may share and credit to you.
Our hope with “Views from the Ridges” is for all of us to get better acquainted and to stay better informed. It truly will be YOUR community newsletter. Send your ideas and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include VIEWS in the subject line.
I look forward to our time together, and I hope “Views” will become a valuable part of your Ridges experience.
Take a look at this photo of Mark and Lynn Glaze because it’s about the only time you’ll see either of these two standing still.
Mark & Lynn Glaze
Lynn and Mark say a mutual love of travel and science brought them together. They first met through AOL where they learned their interests and attitudes lined up nearly perfectly. Mark was living here in Santa Fe although based in Memphis TN for FedEx, Lynn was a banker in Birmingham, Alabama. Mark detoured home from a trip to Paris for their first face to face meeting and within a year they were married.
Finding their home in The Ridges may have been made easier by the fact that Mark was living in Cimarron and, as a runner, frequently ran the hills of The Ridges. They moved into their home at #1 Agua Viviendo in 2004 and Lynn says by now they’ve redone nearly every square inch. Mark recently retired after 31 years as a pilot for FedEx (see attached photos and dramatic video of his final landing). When you get that good news that your Covid Vaccine is ready, you may want to thank Mark; his final cargo included some of the coveted vaccine. FedEx celebrated his long career with a farewell worthy of a hero. As the former Marine fighter pilot and American Airlines pilot landed his FedEx MD-11 for the final time at the Orlando CA airport the local fire department was on hand to spray his craft with 3000 gallons of water. Not to extinguish any flames, of course, but as a dramatic tribute to his career. You may recognize Mark’s plane – it’s the same one flown by Tom Hanks in “Castaway’. Mark says despite closing on a satisfying career he does not miss flying. The responsibility and stress take a toll he says and he’s content to stay on the ground and not live out of a suitcase. Mark has turned some of his energy at home to being the main cook for the couple, picking up some tips from time spent in the Coyote Café kitchen over the years. Here in The Ridges Mark is well-known for his work as head of the Roads Committee.
Lynn Glaze was in the news a few months ago as she was honored by the Santa Fe New Mexican as one of the “Ten Who Made a Difference” (also honored were Ridges neighbors Henry and Tina Lanman, see The Santa Fe New Mexican). Lynn was lauded for more than 16 years of volunteer work at the non-profit Solace Crisis Treatment Center. The agency is devoted to bringing therapy services and support to victims of trauma who suffer from PTSD – whether due to sexual violence, military or police service, human trafficking or those who have been involved in a fatal accident. Before devoting her time to supporting Solace, Lynn worked in banking and finance and drew upon that expertise while serving as a Solace board member during a major fundraising campaign. That successful 2012 campaign is credited with stabilizing the non-profit’s finances. Lynn is also trained as a victim’s advocate and can often be found volunteering on the Solace hotline for the least desirable – and most needed- shifts: weekends, holidays and overnight. Calls to the Solace Hotline have doubled in the past year and need for all services has grown more than 30% during this time of Covid. Lynn is there whenever trauma strikes and people are in need of support. Lynn says she grew up a ‘military brat’ with frequent moves and spent most of her childhood in England. She credits her military father and grandfather with instilling a sense of service in her. And she says her grandfather gave her a most influential book that has proved invaluable, “The Gentle Art of Interrogation.”
Lynn’s first career, after college, was also in flying – she was a flight attendant for American Airlines before pursuing her finance career. Lynn says among the things she learned in that early career is – the behavior of the flying public is most erratic during a full moon. She actually kept track!
Today Lynn and Mark Glaze agree, with the turmoil they see in the world at large, they “thank the stars for living here” in the natural beauty and peace of The Ridges.